Saturday, November 27, 2004

Hannemann now focused
on building his Cabinet

The mayor-elect’s diverse recruiting
team consists of 65 people

Mayor-elect Mufi Hannemann's transition team faces sifting, sorting and selecting to attract the best and brightest to city government, say those involved in previous transitions and Cabinet selections.

"I think to some degree the mayor-elect is going to have come to a broad philosophy on how he is going to recruit," said Bob Fishman, former city managing director, who helped build early Cabinets for Mayor Jeremy Harris.

Hannemann has said he plans to run city government like a business.

"We'll try to hire from the private sector to think like business and have the ability to view an issue from government mentality," said businessman and former state Sen. D.G. "Andy" Anderson, who, along with Chamber of Commerce Chairwoman Christine Camp Friedman, is overseeing Hannemann's transition.

That philosophy is reflected in Hannemann's choices of 65 people who sit on five search committees that includes an array of business, government, labor and community representatives.

They will be charged with helping pare down the choices for Hannemann to fill 17 department director positions, plus deputy directors, executive secretaries, Neighborhood Commission staff, corporation counsel attorneys, executive assistants and other civil-service exempt appointees.

The deadline to apply for a job in the Hannemann administration is Monday.

Anderson, who also brings his experience in forming Cabinets as city managing director under former Mayor Frank Fasi, said the applications are already being sorted into stacks for different positions.

The committees will screen and interview applicants before forwarding the top three candidates for each position to Hannemann for consideration.

"He'll have the final say," said Anderson, who added that Hannemann wants to put his Cabinet together by mid-December.

Fishman said Harris' transition was not the same as the one facing Hannemann.

When Harris was elected mayor in 1994, he was already acting mayor after Fasi stepped down to run for governor and Harris rose to the mayor's seat from the No. 2 managing director's position.

"He was not only familiar with the various departments because he was actually (managing director), he was also familiar with the people," Fishman said. "There was a desire to retain some of the people in the Fasi administration. Of course, there were some people he did not."

Gov. Linda Lingle's Chief of Staff Bob Awana has been involved in transitions both at the city and state level with the governor and former Mayor Eileen Anderson.

Awana said that in picking a Cabinet for the governor, they were looking for "the best individuals who could make the commitment to public service."

They received thousands of applications for not only department positions, but for boards and commission seats. "Volume was a problem," Awana said. "Logistically, it became a challenge to be doing this in a short period of time."

One of the challenges in picking a Cabinet will be attracting people to positions with specialized criteria, such as being an engineer.

Anderson said at the time he was in city government 20 years ago, a civil service position was highly sought after because of good pay and good benefits.

But that is not the necessarily the case now, compared with the private sector, Anderson said.

While the $99,807 salary of a department head is good pay, engineers in the private sector can easily make more, he said.

"Right now, the pay in the private sector is so good that to go to work for the city while managing 200-300 employees and living within a budget, it's very, very difficult to expect that every spot is going to be filled," Anderson said.

Anderson said they could also look to retirees. "There's a wealth of people who have retired from the private sector who are young and who may want to come back," he said.

Awana said attracting top people goes back to what the governor stressed to him about government service. "Where else can you work where you wake up every morning and your main job is to help people and you get paid for it?"

Fishman said another obstacle might be someone who is qualified for the job but does not share the mayor-elect's vision and philosophy.

For example, Hannemann is a light-rail proponent, and those who disagree with that "know where Mufi Hannemann stands and it would discourage them from putting their papers in for transportation," even if they have all the right credentials.

One of the positions that the transition team will not have a say in is that of managing director. "He's (Hannemann) going to pick that personally," Anderson said.



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